Posted by|17 June 2013
Our farewell to spring post celebrating roses from Kiva Rose Hardin is here! Her beautifully written articles marry the personal with the scientific, lore with experience, offering untamed and fresh insight. Herbalist, wildcrafter, artist, and storyteller, Kiva Rose lives in a canyon botanical sanctuary within the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. She is also the co-director of the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous, held each September in the mountain Southwest, coeditor of Plant Healer Magazine, and publisher of the just released historical novel, The Medicine Bear by Jesse Wolf Hardin, and maintains an herbal blog, The Medicine Woman’s Roots.
Spring in the botanical sanctuary where I live is heralded each year by the return of dozens of species of birds returning to the mountains of New Mexico from more southerly climes in Texas and Mexico. The liquid song of the thrushes, the rising crescendo of canyon wrens, and the sweet chirps of the phoebes nesting in the cabin eaves all echo the message of lengthening days and warming soil. Down by the river, Alders are among the first trees to leaf out, the sweet smell of their resinous new growth filling the air, a fragrance so familiar and beloved that it makes my heart ache with love for my canyon home.
Beneath the shade of the silver skinned Alders grow tangled thickets of our native Wild Rose, Rosa woodsii, with its red bark, curved thorns, and delicately toothed leaves. A ubiquitous and abundant genus throughout much of the world, the rose has been known as an important medicine for thousands of years. Perhaps because of its beauty or due to in part to its wide availability, the rose has lost a great deal of its popularity as an effective herbal medicine in common times in much of the Western world. Nevertheless, it remains an incredibly effective herb that can be easily procured, is safe enough for elders and small children, and is remarkably multifaceted in its application. When rose is recognized in herbal medicine, the emphasis tends to be placed very firmly on the seedy red fruits known as hips, but in fact, all parts of the plant can be worked with medicinally, from flower to leaf to bark to root.
Each May when the Wild Roses begin to flower, I walk barefoot along the river bank with my woven basket on my arm, searching for the perfect hedge to harvest from. As the morning warms, the sweet heady scent of the blossoms fills the air and pollinators flock to the roses in a drunken frenzy. More often than not, I’ll find myself so enchanted by the languid flight of fat bumblebees as they travel from flower to flower that I forget that I’m supposed to be gathering petals rather than gazing at intoxicated insects.
Part of what I love about the roses this time of year is that when our species flowers, it’s not only the blossoms that are aromatic, but the leaves as well. The small, and oftentimes overlooked, leaves can possess an enticing musky scent during this season, a fragrance that perfectly balances the delicate sweetness of the flowers. In my years spent working with the Wild Rose, I’ve found that the leaves have their own notable relaxant nervine effect that can greatly compliment the calming action of the flowers. This relaxant effect is most pronounced when the leaves have a strong scent. When these aromatic compounds are not present, the leaf tends to be more simply astringent, and as so often in herbalism, it’s important to employ one’s senses to know exactly when to harvest. There’s no replacement for organoleptic assessment when working with the plants, and each experience presents us with an opportunity to become more knowledgeable of and intimate with the healing herbs. With Wild Roses, I strongly recommend smelling and tasting your rose leaves at different times of the year, and of all the different aromatic species, (domestic, wild, or feral) that are available to you. Some species don’t seem to have such aromatic leaves, so it’s a good idea to compare and contrast.
I usually harvest leaves at the same time I do the petals, and also include the leaves in most of my rose flower preparations such as elixirs, honeys, teas, and tinctures. This helps the flowers go further, but also seems to make for a more complex and complete medicine overall. In food like preparations, I tend to use a somewhat smaller proportion of leaves, since the texture may not be as desirable in some cases. However, small amounts of leaves do taste lovely in infused honeys and similar preparations.
Roses may be best known for the Vitamin C content, which they certainly do possess, along with numerous other bioflavonoids that make their leaves, flowers, and fruits a wonderful source of antioxidants. And yet, this is hardly the extent of their medicine! In Ayurveda, the rose is considered a rasayana, a powerful rejuvenative tonic that is applicable to all constitutions in all seasons, which is a wonderful example of the multifaceted nature of rose as understood by traditional medicine for countless generations.
I find Rose to be an especially valuable ally during our hot Summers in the Southwest, when Pitta disorders abound. Some indications that rose might be particularly appropriate include:
• Feelings of overheatedness
• Bloodshot eyes and/or nosebleeds with subjective feelings of heat, possibly accompanied by headaches
• Heat rash and similar red rashes associated with heat or being overheated
• Restlessness, irritation, and insomnia during warmer seasons or accompanied by feelings of being overheated
• Strong or fetid body odor or breath not associated with organic disease, medication, or a particular food.
• Hyperacidity, a sour taste in the mouth, and the inability to eat sour or acidic foods/drinks
• Heavy menstrual periods with heat signs
Healing can sometimes be long term and difficult, but there’s no reason that it can’t also sometimes be delicious and pleasurable. The below recipes are two tasty ways to work with rose, the first being a traditional Ayurvedic rose conserve called gulkand, and the second being a tasty Indian drink that utilizes the gulkand in its preparation. Rose tastes so good that almost all of us can benefit from the joyful calm that the plant tends to trigger in people, so don’t save it only for when someone’s ill. Instead, stock up during the blooming season and utilize as desired!
~ Two Rose Recipes ~
Gulkand: Ayurvedic Rose Conserve
Gulkand is one of the simplest rose preparations to make, and infinitely useful as a medicine, condiment, and straight up treat. This sweet Rose preserve can be used year round, but is especially useful for those hot Summers where excess heat results in short tempers, exhaustion, irritability, and insomnia. This is a great treat for people of all constitutions, but particularly appropriate for Pitta dominated folks or those dealing with Pitta excess disorders.
• 1 part fresh rose petals (any aromatic species will work, wild or cultivated, just make sure they’re pesticide free)
• 1 part sugar
• Spices to taste (optional) – I especially like Cardamom, Nutmeg, and Cinnamon in my gulkand. Cardamom is particularly beneficial when there are clear heat signs and the gulkand is being used therapeutically.
• In a jar or similar glass container, place a layer of Rose petals down first, then cover completely with sugar. If including spices, add spices to the layers of sugar, or just blend the spiced directly into sugar before beginning the layering process.
• Repeat until jar is filled, with sugar on top.
• Cover, and sit on a sunny counter and shake daily. I don’t usually recommend keeping any herbal preparation in the sun, but in this case the sunlight seems to help release the rose flavor and create the proper consistency.
• In 4-6 weeks, your gulkand should be ready!
• Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place.
Eat by the spoonful, add to milk, use to top ice cream, or any other number of yummy treats.
Summerflower Lassi: Cooling Rose and Yogurt Drink
This is one of my favorite recipes from Indian cuisine, and something I enjoy each Summer during the hot months here in New Mexico. You don’t have to use rosewater, and it’s very good just using 3 parts water, 1 part yogurt, and the gulkand. However, for the ultimate rose experience, the rosewater adds another layer of delicate rose complexity to the finished drink. You can also float fresh or candied rose petals on the top of the lassi for a beautiful presentation and even more rose presence.
• 1 part (preferably homemade, but full fat yogurt if store-bought) yogurt
• 1/2 part organic rose hydrosol (rosewater)
• 2 1/2 parts water
• gulkand to taste (see previous recipe)
Add each ingredient to a glass or mason jar and stir or shake well before enjoying chilled.
Posted by|14 June 2013
Many of you have requested these over the years, so we are excited to finally add Roll Top Glass Bottles to our container offerings!
These 1 oz clear glass bottles come with a roll top applicator which is perfect for applying herbal oils, liniments, aroma oil or perfume blends, and even homemade deodorants. These bottles will come to you in three pieces: a 1 oz clear glass bottle, roll top applicator which snaps on and off of the bottle, and a black screw cap lid which fits over the applicator.
Visit our website here to see all of the bottling options that we offer for your homemade goodies!
Posted by|13 June 2013
Look what we found in our Employee Art Gallery!
These gorgeous wood pieces are all made from reclaimed materials and handcrafted by Angie, one of our awesome herb fillers. When she’s not weighing and bagging your order, she can be found at Shopdog Woodworks making unique cutting boards and animal furniture for our furry friends.
The art gallery gives our staff an opportunity to share their creations and connect with each other over one-of-a-kind beauty. Around the holidays, it becomes our own little marketplace. So many talented folks here at Mountain Rose – we sure are lucky!
Posted by|10 June 2013
We are so excited to partner with Guido Masé of Urban Moonshine to celebrate herbal remedies for the men in our lives! Just in time for Father’s Day, we’ll be hosting a chat on Twitter covering a range of topics like male tonic herbs, herbal body care and hair tips, andropause, nutrient considerations and herbal supplementation, prostate health, aphrodisiacs, athlete’s herbs, and much more, plus a general Q&A! All are invited and welcome to participate in this herbal info sharing chat.
Guido Masé is a clinical herbalist, herbal educator, and garden steward specializing in holistic Western herbalism, though his approach is eclectic and draws upon many influences. Guido works clinically and teaches at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, holds the position of Clinical Herbalist on staff at Urban Moonshine, is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild, and is a part of United Plant Savers and the American Botanical Council.
Men’s Herbal Health Chat with Guido Masé
Wednesday, June 12th 2013
5:30pm to 6:30pm PST
If this is your first time participating in a chat on Twitter, here’s what you’ll need to do:
* Create an account on Twitter.
* Use the hashtag #mensherbs at the end of your message (called a Tweet) to join the talk. Hashtags are simply keywords preceded by a hash symbol (“#”) that makes them both searchable and linkable on Twitter. Clicking on and using these hashtags will help keep our chat organized and easy to follow.
* Hit reply to make a response and remember to add the hashtag.
Twitter Chat Prizes!
During the chat, Mountain Rose will select 3 winners at random to receive one of these special gifts:
Prize #1: The Male Herbal by James Green outlines the medicinal uses of numerous herbs for male-specific issues, while emphasizing prevention and health rather than illness. This trusted herbal handbook, specifically for men and boys, covers physical and emotional health and is organized alphabetically by herb for easy reference with recipes.
Prize #2 – Happy Man Tea is our all around tonic and balancer just for men! A tasty and healthy decoction created for Dad’s general health. Contains: organic Dandelion root, organic Eleuthero root, organic Burdock root, organic Marshmallow root, organic Hawthorn berry, organic Fennel seed, organic Nettle root, organic Oatstraw, organic Saw Palmetto, and organic Stevia. We will also include a Make Tea Not War mug and tea strainer!
Prize #3 – Who doesn’t enjoy a little pampering? Enjoy a warm and woodsy salt bath soak with our Woodland Bath Salts. A wonderful way to relax overworked muscles and refresh after a long hike, strenuous exercise, or a day spent working in the garden.
* * *
Join us this Wednesday evening on Twitter with questions ready for Guido and herbal recommendations to share for a chance to win!
Posted by|07 June 2013
We’re offering two new herbal books that make perfect additions to any collection!
Clean out your medicine cabinet and replace artificial commercial balms and liniments with all-natural handmade herbal remedies. Filled with 150 recipes that are easy to prepare from readily available ingredients, this book will help you take control of your well-being and stock your family’s medicine cabinet with your own custom-made healing remedies. From Coconut-Honey Bliss Lip Butter for dried lips to Lavender Ice to reduce pain and swelling, you will find what you need to soothe everything from backaches and blisters to insect bites and insomnia. Softcover, 320 pages, published 2012.
A modern day classic with more than 350 years of wisdom. This alphabetically arranged reference book is a reworking of Nicholas Culpeper’s classic The English Physitian and Complete Herbal which was first printed in 1653. From herbal remedies to home cooking, this diverse compendium describes 250 of Culpeper’s herbs and spices including Latin name and family, use descriptions, beautiful botanical drawings, and much more! Hardcover, 383 pages, published 2011.
Posted by|06 June 2013
We’re back from an amazingly educational and fun packed weekend at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, WA! It was such a blast to meet so many people living sustainable lifestyles with passionate innovation. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth to chat or attended a class at the Mountain Rose Herbs Stage. We hope you learned a ton and will come see us again next year!
Check out more photos from the event here:
Posted by|05 June 2013
It isn’t often that business luncheons include a menu card listing all the local sources for the foods served. What a treat to read about the local farms and farmers who provided the delicious meal! When our Director of Sustainability, Alyssa Lawless, and I sat down at our table, we couldn’t wait to get to know some of the other business representatives—including, the folks from Rogue Creamery, artisan cheese makers from Central Point (who placed in the top ten as well.) While we were honored to discover we were among The 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon as determined by a survey of more than 18,000 employees from 440 companies and nonprofits, we had no idea where we’d place in the rankings until we arrived at the very sustainability-focused luncheon sponsored by Oregon Business magazine.
Those who completed the survey were asked to rate how they thought their workplaces were doing in ten different categories, including recycling and waste reduction, having a “green” mission and company-wide goals, support for public transit and alternative transportation, energy and water conservation, and purchasing locally. Companies were then scored and rated based on the results. Drum roll please….!
Mountain Rose Herbs came in 9th out of all those businesses!
As this was our first year trying to make the list, we were so honored to be the only first-timers and the only Eugene, Oregon, company to be in the top ten. Joining approximately 300 of our green-focused peers from all sorts of companies throughout the state, we listened to some inspiring speakers, including Oregon’s First Lady, Cylvia Hayes, challenge us all to work even harder to think beyond profits and ask ourselves what else we can do to improve the livability and sustainability of our communities.
On the drive back home, Alyssa and I were not only eager to share the trophy and our collective accomplishment with all our Mountain Rose Herbs coworkers, we also had an animated conversation about what else we can do as a company to improve our sustainability efforts. We heard some great ideas and suggestions of what other businesses are doing and Alyssa definitely has some amazing plans in the works to continue building Mountain Rose Herbs into one of the best green companies to work for…anywhere!
“Attending this event and being surrounding by like-minded Oregon businesses was such an honor. And what makes me particularly proud is that it’s my fellow Mountain Rosers that got us here! They support our sustainability initiatives, like the Mountain Rose River Project and our Carpool, Bus and Bike incentive program, and that’s why it works. Can’t wait to see where we go from here!”
- Alyssa Lawless, Director of Sustainability
This post comes to us from Kori, our Public and Media Relations Coordinator! A West Coast native, Kori is a seasoned nonprofit activist and community organizer. Having launched six adult kids, she spends her free time in her burgeoning organic and very urban “farm”—taming Heritage chickens, building top-bar beehives from reclaimed materials, baking, brewing, and preserving.
Posted by|04 June 2013
This recipe has quickly become one of my favorite treats for those sunny days that become warm nights. If rooibos tea is new to you, then something very special awaits…
Rooibos or Aspalathus linearis is a beautiful yellow flowering shrub in the Fabaceae family that’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, and is caffeine-free. When the green needle-like leaves are oxidized, the color changes to a gorgeously rich garnet. This oxidized Red Rooibos is lusciously smooth, with a mellow sweetness of honey and caramel that pairs perfectly with sliced vanilla beans.
The velvety flavor and stunning color of rooibos seemed to whisper this magical little recipe to me. With pure cacao powder and thick local honey, this is a healthy alternative to chocolate syrup that tastes extraordinarily decadent!
Cocoa Rooibos Sundae Syrup Recipe
1 ½ cups organic cacao or cocoa powder
1 ½ cups prepared Vanilla Rooibos tea (brew using 2 Tbsp loose tea)
1 ½ cups local honey
¼ teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 pinch of fine sea salt
Brew the rooibos tea as directed above. Strain the tea and stir with all remaining ingredients over medium high heat. Bring just to a boil and then reduce heat to a very gentle simmer, stirring constantly, until the honey is completely dissolved and the mixture thickens to coat a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate. Drizzle this gorgeous syrup over ice cream, cake, fresh fruit, or simply indulge by the spoonful!
Variations: This would also be wonderful with a base of chaga mushroom tea, rose petal tea, roasted dandelion root tea, damiana tea, or ginger tea! You could also make this a medicinal syrup by adding elderberries or Echinacea to the tea base.
Posted by|03 June 2013
We’re all spending more time outside and in the garden these days. Have you seen our Pesticide-Free garden signs? I proudly hung mine last week when I signed this pledge to keep my garden organic and free of toxic pesticides.
In support of Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, we are launching a matching gift campaign during the month of June. That means Mountain Rose Herbs will match your donation, dollar for dollar up to $2,500! Please help us raise funds for this worthy cause.
For 35 years, NCAP has worked to protect community and environmental health, focusing on sustainable agriculture, clean water, parks, schools and places we live to reduce pesticide use.
“Mountain Rose Herbs is a mission based company that places precedence on absolute environmental quality and we have always made it a priority to partner with like-minded organizations that work to protect and enhance the world we live in. When we relocated to Eugene, Oregon we became intimately connected with Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides because of their strong stance on pesticide reform and the method in which they seek reform. We have always known that the environmental integrity of Oregon is hanging in a precarious balance, and that the health and wellbeing of our employees, farms, and communities are being seriously threatened. Thankfully we have NCAP to help protect the place where we live and work.” – Shawn Donnille, Vice President, Mountain Rose Herbs
Posted by|31 May 2013
Allergy season is in full swing here in the Willamette Valley – thank you grass! This is one reason why we’re thrilled to bring you this new Herbal Chest Rub from our friends at Wild Carrot Herbals. They fill each batch with botanical healing goodness that you just can’t find in conventional chest rubs.
Perfect for this time of year, I have been dabbing a little under my nose to make it through the day. This effective chest rub is crafted with herbally infused olive oil and essential oils known for opening the airways. Calming and soothing during times of congestion, this is an even stronger version of Wild Carrot’s ever popular Children’s Chest Rub and is easily applied to the chest for long lasting relief or just a bit under the nose to soothe when needed.
Contains: organic olive oil infused with organic yarrow, organic chickweed, organic roman chamomile, organic yerba mansa, organic Echinacea purpurea, organic oregon grape root, organic castor oil, beeswax, and essential oils of Eucalyptus radiata, niaouli, rosemary, lavender, tea tree, and organic sweet orange.
Posted by|30 May 2013
Mountain Rose folks Alyssa and Kori attended a ceremony yesterday for the 5th annual 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon…and we made the list! Here’s a shot of Alyssa our Director of Social and Environmental Responsibility accepting the award. This prize showcases exemplary workplaces that inspire and empower workers with a daily and enduring commitment to sustainable practices.
How’d we do? We’ll bring you the full report next week!
Posted by|28 May 2013
This fascinating 17-minute mini-documentary from Our Common Roots TV takes a look at the threat of GMOs in our food and environment - Alfalfa in particular. As legitimate concerns continue to grow over the long-term health effects of GMOs, more and more consumers and organic farmers fight for their right to know what’s in their food. Without thorough testing, the question of safety over genetically modified food is truly unnerving…